Fact or Fiction: Giants Super Bowl history debate

What the Giants did to Joe Montana’s 49ers dynasty was more impressive than what they did a few decades later against Tom Brady’s Patriots.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Nothing is more impressive than the Giants’ victory against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. I firmly believe the 2007 Patriots were the best team in NFL history. They outscored their opponents by a ludicrous 315 points over the course of the regular season on their way to an undefeated record. They looked like an unstoppable juggernaut on both sides of the ball. It would have been the Patriots fourth Super Bowl championship in seven years. Part of me still doesn’t believe the Giants won that game. As impressive as ending the 49ers run at a 3-peat was in 1990, give me the victory over the Patriots any day of the week.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - The Giants ended Joe Montana’s dynasty. Tom Brady’s Patriots, on the other hand, just don’t go away. It’s like a slasher film. The Giants ripped their hearts out in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, but Brady came back to life in four more sequels, including Sunday’s. Yes, the 49ers won another title but did it with Steve Young. Montana never started again for San Francisco after the Giants knocked him – and the 49ers – out of the 1990 NFC Championship Game. And the 49-3 victory over the 49ers in the 1986 Divisional Round remains the most lopsided victory in Giants postseason history.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - In the 1990 NFC Championship Game, the Giants needed every single second to get past the Niners as Matt Bahr’s 42-yard field goal handed them a 15-13 victory as time expired. That was Bahr’s fifth field goal of the game, accounting for all 15 points. It was a highly-contested game that could have gone either way. The two teams met just about every regular season and developed an intense rivalry. The reason I bring that up is because in order to top the win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, you would need to have a dominant lopsided victory over the Niners that demonstrated the end of a dynasty. That wasn’t the case. While the first Patriots Super Bowl was decided by just three points (17-14), the Giants spoiled New England’s quest for a perfect season and handed Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their first loss as a duo on the biggest stage. I rest my case. As an exclamation point, the Giants repeated the feat four years later.

Phil Simms in Super Bowl XXI was the greatest individual performance in Giants postseason history.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Simms was almost perfect. Perfect. In a Super Bowl. He was 22 of 25 for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. One of his incomplete passes was a drop. At one point in the game, he completed a Super Bowl-record 10 straight passes. While the final score made the game seem like a lopsided win, the Giants trailed 10-9 at halftime. It is still one of the best Super Bowl performances in NFL history.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - I don’t have much to add because it’s not really debatable. So instead of regaling you with his stats that made it hands-down the best in franchise and, perhaps, NFL history, I’m going to talk about one performance that doesn’t get enough attention: Hakeem Nicks in the 2011 Divisional Round against the Packers. It wasn’t as cold as the 2007 NFC Championship Game, but it was still mid-January at Lambeau Field. Nicks went off for 165 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. He started off with a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter and then ended the half on a 37-yard Hail Mary. Coincidentally, the Giants scored 37 points in that game to put things out of reach even for Aaron Rodgers.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -Forget Giants postseason history. Phil Simms’ performance in Super Bowl XXI is considered one of the greatest showings in NFL playoff history. He completed 22 of 25 pass attempts to set a Super Bowl and NFL postseason record for completion percentage (88%), threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns and helped the Giants post a Super Bowl record 30 points in the second half.He also ran three times for 25 yards. Carl Banks’ performance in that same game deserves some serious consideration as he recorded 14 tackles, including 10 unassisted and four for losses. It’s easy to overlook what the defense, especially Banks, did against John Elway and company given the offensive clinic in the second half.

Giants fans not liking the Patriots is justified.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Any fan base not liking the Patriots is justified. They win ALL THE TIME. It’s the same reason people can’t stand the Yankees, Duke, Lakers, or other perennial winners. Fans want to see other teams get opportunities and grow tired of seeing the same faces every year. Throw the old Spygate controversy into the mix and it is entirely justified. It shouldn’t be personal given the Giants’ success against the Patriots, but feeling that way is completely justified.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - I grew up in the Midwest, so far be it for me to tell New York/New Jersey fans how they should get along with New Englanders. But I do know something about rivalries. I was born in Ohio, went to Ohio State, and was brainwashed with stories of Woody Hayes pushing his car across the state line through a snowstorm to avoid buying gas in Michigan. And that makes sense to me. I don’t want anything good to happen to Michigan in football, hockey, basketball, swimming and diving, curling -- you name it. I don’t even want to hear Tim Allen voice Michigan travel commercials. Minnesota’s lakes are better anyway, but that’s a whole different rant.  

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -It’s important to note “fan” is short for fanatical, so anything can be justified from the perspective of a fan. With that being said, the Giants beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl and have had more success against New England in the postseason than more than half the league combined. The Giants have had the Patriots’ number on the biggest stage, so what exactly is there to hate? On top of that, Bill Belichick worked for the Giants as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for over a decade, helping the team win a pair of Super Bowls and always speaks very highly of the organization. Once again, what is there to hate? The Patriots will be appearing in their ninth Super Bowl, and third straight, in 18 seasons, which is absolutely ridiculous given the parity of the league. Their impressive run actually aids the Giants’ cause, so there’s really no point in disliking what New England accomplished over the last two decades.

The Patriots and Rams will combine to score more than 53 points in Super Bowl LIII.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I think this is a lower-scoring game than a lot of people anticipate. I think Bill Belichick figures out a way to give his team some clues to help them decipher the Rams deadly play-action passing game. Todd Gurley has not looked like himself in recent games, and the Patriots will figure out a way to prevent big plays down the field and keep the Rams from running the ball like they did against the Cowboys. Los Angeles will get its points, but I don’t think LA gets more than 27. I like the Patriots passing game against the Rams defense, unless Aaron Donald can blow up the game like Grady Jarrett did against the Patriots in the first half of the Super Bowl two years ago. Once the Patriots contained Jarrett, Brady moved the ball at will. I think that happens again unless Donald or Ndamukong Suh completely disrupt Brady with an interior rush. Patriots, 27-24.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - After Super Bowl LII produced more yards than any game in modern NFL history, I think LIII will be a chess match between Bill Belichick and Sean McVay. Belichick has beaten some of the best offenses in the history of the NFL, including the 1990 Bills, 2001 Rams and 2018 Chiefs. This will be a tight and close game that once again comes down to the wire.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - In each of the last two Super Bowls, the Patriots and their opponents (Falcons, Eagles) have combined for over 53 points, so why not go for the trifecta here. The Patriots are averaging 39 points per game this postseason and the Rams 28, so if you go by those numbers, surpassing 53 shouldn’t be a problem. The same can be said for the regular season, as both teams ranked in the top four in the league in scoring. With neither defense appearing to be a juggernaut, scoring points in this game shouldn’t be an issue.

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